Road test: Seat Tarraco
Up there with the best in its class for comfort and driving pleasure
What is it?
Seat completes its SUV line-up with the seven-seat Tarraco, the largest model in the range. The Tarraco’s styling shows the future design direction for the Spanish brand.
How green is it?
The best economy and emissions come from the 2.0 TDI 150 with 47.9mpg and 129g/km, which is calculated under the new WLTP rules.
Who should buy one?
Anyone looking for a larger SUV should consider the Tarraco as it’s spacious and one of the best in its class for driving fun.
Road test by Mr Al Suttie, March 2019
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
You have a choice of 1.5 and 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines with 150PS (148bhp) and 190PS (187bhp) respectively. The smaller of these is slated to be the best seller and it wasobvious why when we headed out in the Tarraco.
Where the 2.0-litre promises stronger performance, it comes with four-wheel drive and a DSG dual-clutch gearbox as standard that both blunt its advantage. We also found the 2.0-litre needs to be revved hard to make the sort of progress you feel it should be capable of, which makes the engine sound loud and strained. The DSG gearbox’s reactions are too lazy unless you swap the gearbox to Sport mode. You can also pick from Eco and Individual settings through the Seat Drive Profile menu.
Take the 1.5 and its front-drive only chassis with standard six-speed manual transmission, and you’ll find it’s much lighter on its feet. It feels peppier and 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds isn’t too far off the 2.0-litre’s 8.0 second dash. This 1.5 version is easily the pick of the Tarraco bunch, helped by its excellent refinement and light gear change.
There’s a pair of turbodiesels too, comprising 150PS (148bhp) and 190PS (187bhp) versions of the expected Volkswagen Group 2.0-litre unit. The 150 has the choice of front-drive and a six-speed manual or all-wheel drive coupled to the DSG gearbox. Choose the 190 and you get the 4×4 and auto transmission whether you like it or not.
Performance of the diesels is all but identical to the petrol units of the same power outputs. However, we found the diesels to be a little noisy when cruising on the motorway, so this would steer us in the direction of the 1.5 TSI, even if its 38.6mpg and 165g/km carbon dioxide emissions are only average for the class.
What’s definitely not ho-hum with the Tarraco is its ride and handling. It placates any ruffles in the road surface very efficiently. There’s plenty of grip into and out of corners and not too much body lean.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
All Tarracos sold in the UK will be seven-seaters, unlike the Skoda Kodiaq that comes with five seats in its most basic form. That makes the entry-level Tarraco more versatile than the most affordable Kodiaq. However, for adults to travel in the third row, those in the middle need to sacrifice some legroom by sliding their own seats forward. In reality, the Tarraco is more of a 5+2 than a full-house seven-seat MPV replacement.
With all seven seats occupied, you have 215 litres of cargo capacity that’s enough for a quick shop, but drop the third row and it opens up to 700 litres. With all five back seats lowered, there’s a massive 1775 litres on offer.
Up front, there’s generous space for the driver’s head, legs and shoulders, plus the seat and steering wheel are easily adjusted to suit. All-round vision is good, too, while the dash features clear controls.
Every Tarraco has seven airbags. There’s traction and stability control, along with Hill Hold. An electronic differential lock prevents the front wheels from spinning on wet corners, with Lane Assist, City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Protection. There is tiredness recognition, and e-Call automatically contacts emergency services after a collision.
All models features metallic paint, roof rails, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, a height adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, and climate control. The SE Technology gains satnav, while Xcellence has front sport seats with Alcantara upholstery, Park Assist, reversing camera, keyless entry and ignition, power tailgate and wireless phone charging. The Xcellence Lux boasts leather trim and heated seats.
The 1.5 TSI Evo 150 turbo petrol engine will be the best seller and offers 37.2mpg combined economy and 152g/km carbon dioxide emissions. That latter figure means a hefty first year VED road tax payment of £515, though it reverts to £140 thereafter. A three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is included and this can be extended to five years and 90,000 miles at extra cost.
WE SAY Up there with the best in its class for comfort and driving pleas-ure
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62 in 19 secs
Figures for the 1.5 TSI Evo SE Technology 6-speed manual.